Victim’s family says it’s all lies

Debby Schamber – For The Record

After getting his probation revoked and told he will spend 25 years in prison, Joshua Latham remains in the Orange County Jail until he is transported to prison.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Latham said. “I am tired of dealing with it all.”

Latham said he plans to appeal the decision because it was an “unfair judgement.”

The case began in 2013 and over the past three years Latham has been in and out of jail. Bond was posted after he was transferred to the Newton County Jail and when he failed to live up to the terms it was revoked. He was given another chance and bond was set again. However, he failed to show up for the murder trial in Newton County. Bond was revoked again and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Investigators found him behind a residence in Louisiana. He said he was not hiding and was only working on the sewer system. When he saw the officers arrive he was surprised to see them there and ran.

According to court testimony, Latham was dressed in camouflage and was covered in mud in a “wooded, swampy” area. Texas Ranger Bobby Smith testified in Newton, the whereabouts of Latham came from an anonymous caller.

Latham said he failed to appear in court to face murder charges because he wanted to be able to spend more time with his family and friends.

Latham expressed his feelings about the justice system and feels the investigators “just wanted a conviction” and that he was a scapegoat.

“I am tired of being accused of something I didn’t do,” Latham said. “I just want to go home.”

When asked if there were others involved in the murder or disappearance of Tami Higgenbotham, he said he could not comment on it. He also declined to discuss the details of the case.

As to why he was accused of murder he said it was because he was the last person to see Tami. But, it was not his first time to see Tami since he had previously met her and her boyfriend at their residence in Vinton.

He attributes his brushes with the law by stating he hung around with the wrong people. He also said the burglary of a habitation charge which caused him to be placed on probation was bogus because “nothing was ever stolen.”

Several times during the interview, Latham’s eyes filled with tears. One such time was when he was asked about his wife and children. Dusti and Josh met several years ago and were introduced by his sister. They have two children. Their son is three years old and they have an infant daughter who has spina bifida. The condition occurs when a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop or close properly in the womb. As a result, Latham’s daughter had surgery after she was born. She spent weeks in the hospital before going home. According to Latham, it is unclear if she will have other issues as a result of the condition.

“They are my entire world,” Latham said. “I am tired of being away from them.”

Another time his wiped tears away was when he talked about going to prison. He admitted he was terrified of going to prison and was scared he would get hurt.

Latham is grateful for all the support he received from his grandparents, mom and sister during the three year ordeal.

“They have all been so supportive,” he said.

While in prison he plans to get his GED and further his education such as by learning a trade. He does not have one but says he is a good mechanic and can fix about anything. Even though he says he has manic depression and is bi-polar, he wants to get a job once he is out of prison.

“I just want to make a new life for me and my family,” he said. “I am not a hateful person. I am very loving and a caring person.”

Latham has regrets and one of them is what happened to Tami.

“I am sorry for what happened,” Latham says to the family.

Staci Robinson has strong feelings about Latham and thinks it is unfair that someday he will rejoin his family which is something Tami will never get to do again. Although Latham will be gone for a period of time while in prison, she hopes in the mean time the murder charges will be reinstated and he will return to prison for a very long time.

“He should have thought about all this before he killed my sister and dumped her body.”